Microsoft developed Windows Media Audio (WMA) in an effort to undermine the MP3, Apple’s AAC compression, and other codecs. Since its initial introduction, the format has grown to support a range of audio types beyond compressed audio — from high-fidelity audio and multi-channel surround sound, to a compression algorithm specifically tailored for the human voice.
However, while WMA still remains widely used today, the proprietary codec pales in comparison to MP3 and other digital formats. If you listen to music on anything remotely similar to an iPod, you’ll likely have to convert your WMA files into a more accessible format before enjoying your tunes.
Fortunately for you, we’ve put together a simple guide for converting WMA files into MP3. There are a variety of methods for you to choose from, whether you prefer Web-based or third-party desktop programs.
Related: Best free media players
Choose your conversion method:
Cloud Convert (Web-based)
Lunaweb Ltd.’s freemium Cloud Convert has been a recent mainstay in the conversion world. Though the intuitive software has remained in the public beta phase for more than a year, it still allows you to quickly convert between more than 100 different file formats — including WMA and MP3 — provided your files are less than 100MB. Moreover, the resulting audio quality is great, and the site features a simple-to-use interface that’s also completely devoid of ads, making it easy on the eyes.
Step 1: Navigate to the main Cloud Convert homepage and click the Select files button located on the left-hand side of the page. Afterward, select the the desired file you wish to convert from its respective save location, or simply click and drag said file into the browser window.
Step 2: Once the file is uploaded, click the select format button and select MP3 from the resulting drop-down menu before specifying whether you’d like to receive the resulting file in Dropbox, Google Drive, or your email inbox. Keep in mind Cloud Convert will simply provide you with a download link if you don’t check a box.
Step 3: Click on the wrench icon to the right of your desired conversion format to access the advanced options. From there, you can fine tune a number of settings, including the resulting bit rate and audio frequency.
Related: Best free video converters
We suggest setting the bit rate to 192k or higher and the sampling rate to 44100 if you’re looking for high-quality audio. Click the blue Okay button at the bottom of the pop-up window when you’re satisfied with your settings.
Step 4: Click the Start Conversion button to start converting your file. Once it’s finished, click the Download option or navigate to the save location you previously set to retrieve your newly-minted MP3.
Online Convert (Web-based)
Online Convert may not be as visually appealing as other Web-based file converters, but it gets the job done, and supports a number of different conversion types (including WMA to MP3). Like Cloud Convert, Online Convert features a 100 MB limit when it comes to source files. That said, Online Convert is a wonderful and easy way to convert your files without having to install any third-party software.
Related: How to convert MP4 files to MP3
Step 1: Head over to the main Online Convert’s homepage and select the Convert to MP3 option under the gray Audio converter box in the upper-left corner of the page. Afterward, click the Choose files button near the middle of the page, and select the the desired file you wish to convert from its respective save location.
Step 2: Like the previously-mentioned Cloud Convert, Online Convert allows you to customize a number of settings when converting MP3s, such audio bit rate and the resulting sampling rate. Adjust the settings as you see fit within the Optional settings box, trimming the resulting file if desired. Again, MP3s sound best with a bit rate set to 192k or higher and a sampling rate of 44100 Hz.
Step 3: Once you’re satisfied with the settings for your resulting file, simply click the gray Convert button at the bottom of the page and allow the software time to convert your WMA. Your file will automatically download once its finished converting!
Any Video Converter (Windows/Mac OS X)
Any Video Converter graces many of pages outlining conversion methods (and rightly so). Though primarily built for converting video, the software easily allows you convert files directly into MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, or Wave for use on a variety of mobile devices. The audio quality, along with that of video, is exceptional for a free program, as is the lightning-quick conversion speed. Moreover, the resulting audio is supported on everything from Apple to Android devices and the diverse bulk of media players in between. The third-party utility is more than just a simple conversion, one you’ll likely find useful for a melange of file conversions down the line.
Step 1: Navigate to the AVC website or the Mac App Store to grab the latest freemium or lite version of the software if you haven’t already. If using Windows, click the orange Free Download button near the middle of the download page and follow the installation instructions as directed, while remaining vigilant of any unnecessary toolbars or malware the software may try to install on your system during the installation process.
Step 2: Launch AVC by searching for the program in the Windows search bar or accessing the software through the programs menu. Similarly on Mac, you can launch the program by searching for it in Spotlight or accessing it through the applications menu, conveniently located within Finder.
Step 3: Once opened, you want to select the WMA files you wish to convert by clicking the Video(s) button with the addition sign in the upper-left corner of the program. A pop-up window will appear where you can navigate or search for the desired files on your computer. On a Mac, click the Add Video button in the bottom left-hand corner and select the files you wish to convert. Continue adding WMA files in the same manner until you’re satisfied with your selection. AVC allows you to convert multiple files at a time, so there’s no need to individually convert each file.
Step 4: Click the drop-down menu in the top-right corner and select the Audio files option near the bottom of the menu, depicted by a single music note. Afterward, select MP3 Audio and adjust the resulting audio options using the basic panel at the bottom of the application window. You can set your desired bit rate and sampling rate much like the previously mentioned desktop solutions, or even limit the audio to one channel, but we recommend setting the bit rate to 192k or higher and the sampling rate to 44100 Hz. Click the blue Convert Now button when you’re satisfied with your results.